Every day in sport, spectators witness incredible results. Hockey is no exception. Sensational wins by outsiders and incredible comebacks are not that rare in modern hockey, but were they all real? Or were some of these matches played out of the script? As much as we would like to believe in the miracle and crystal honesty of one of the best games in the world, there are proven cases of leaked matches at the professional level. These are the kind of matches that this article will discuss.
Before we start, it should be noted that it is not easy to lose a hockey match. Unlike tennis and martial arts, a hockey match has 22 players on each team. To make money in betting you have to find the right outcome.
Let’s say it’s a topsy-turvy individual total on the opposing team. Then the team’s goalkeeper and key defenders must be in the mix. But what if the opponents do not want to play aggressive hockey and focus on defense? With this kind of play, it is quite difficult to concede the right amount of pucks from the opponents, because you can’t give in, you have to make some kind of play.
If it was decided to bet on losing to your team, the goalkeeper and the main players of the team should be in the mix. Leaders on whom the game depends. The forwards should create as few chances as possible, and the defenders, on the contrary, should make mistakes as often as possible. But it’s not that simple either.
There are young and hungry players in every line-up and they can start scoring when they don’t have to. On top of that, the coach can replace a goalie who is on the board after a few missed pucks, and a goalie who doesn’t know about the slugging will be in the goal. It is completely impossible to put the whole team on notice because the leakage is almost inevitable and the culprits will be punished severely.
Let’s say the goalkeeper is on and misses, the defenders make mistakes on purpose, and the forwards don’t try to score, everything seems to be perfect and the bet will go in, but there’s no way around it. You have to know how to bet well, too. You cannot sink millions of dollars into youth hockey or second-rate championships at one betting shop. This will attract the attention of bookmakers and a trial or investigation in such a case is inevitable. It is at such moments that the protagonists of this article got burned.
Dynamo Molodechno – Mogilev
The incident in question took place in Belarus. On 12 November 2019, a match was played between the teams Dinamo Molodechno and Mogilev. Initially, the hosts were favorites, but closer to the start of the match the odds of the teams were assessed by bookmakers as equal. Usually, this could be due to two reasons:
- The home team had huge problems in the line-up, which were not immediately known. Such an option did not apply to this encounter.
- Someone was actively betting on a defeat for the home team. This was just the right way to go in this match.
How events unfolded in that game. In the first period, the Dynamo hockey players took a 3-1 lead. In the second period, the home team solidified their lead, leading 5-1. By the end of the second period, the visitors managed to pull within one goal. The teams headed to halftime with a 5-2 lead. When playing at home and having a three-point lead before the final period, nothing should bode well. But not always.
The home team began the third period with a suspension, which the visitors converted. A minute later, the Mogilev hockey team scored again and reduced the deficit to its minimum. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the visitors managed to score twice more and won in regulation time, 6-5.
An investigation was soon carried out, and the Belarus Ice Hockey Federation reported that seven Dynamo players had been suspended for a year. Each of them was fined approximately 240 thousand Russian roubles. Three other Dinamo players knew that a leak was coming. According to the regulations, they were supposed to notify the club, but failed to do so and so were fined. They were fined 40,000 roubles.
In addition, the assistant head coach was also affected. It was found out that he had placed about 20 bets on his team’s matches. He received an indefinite suspension for this. Also, the Belarus Ice Hockey Federation has decided to annul the result of this match, to hand Dynamo a technical defeat of 0-5, and exclude this match from the players’ statistics.
Vitebsk: a case from Belarus
Unfortunately, this is not the only case in Belarus. In May 2021, 5 Vitebsk hockey players were punished for contracting. There is no information about specific matches, but it was found that during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, Roman Strelnikov, Vitaly Sapega, Alexander Politsinsky, Kirill Sachivka, and Anton Medvedev helped their opponents to beat their team more than once. Naturally, each of them was given a financial penalty, and most importantly, all of them were banned for 3 years. It looks like the Belarussian extra league is claiming the title of the league with the most controversial reputation.
Bjorkleven to Mora
It’s hard to believe, but even in Swedish hockey, such incidents happen. In December 2020, a suspicious match was being investigated in Sweden’s second strongest championship, Björkleven. In a regular season meeting, Bjorkleven hosted Mora on their ice. The home side was clear favorites for the match.
Already by the 9th minute of the first period, Bjorklaven took a three-goal lead. However, they conceded seven straight goals and ultimately lost by a score of 4-8. Bookmakers were suspicious of the encounter and quickly removed the match from their line to avoid betting on it and froze payouts until further notice.
According to social media, before the match started the odds on the home team winning was 1.3, and when they led by 2 pucks, the odds rose to 1.5, rather than dropping as they should have done. This story did not come to any logical conclusion. There is no information about the disqualified players and penalties at the moment. But professional bettors also use this kind of news to find the best cricket betting in India.
Ukraine vs South Korea
And now, perhaps the most high-profile match-fixing scandal in hockey. It took place in 2017 in Kyiv on the final game day of the first division of the Hockey World Championship. Any match-fixing is low and unsporting, to say the least, but when it comes to your own country’s national team, your hair stands on end. The South Korean team needed a win to advance to the elite division, and Ukraine at the time had no motivation to score points because even if they won in regulation time they would not have kept their place in the first division.
The game ended in a shootout victory for South Korea. Later, photos of two receipts surfaced on the internet, with Zakharchenko and Voyevoda allegedly stating that they would return 60,000 dollars each if they didn’t lose to Korea by 2 goals or more. They subsequently received a lifetime suspension for attempting to surrender the match but were rehabilitated in the 2018-19 season due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
So how did their future careers pan out? Voyevoda tried to play for Kremenchuk, but only played 7 games for the team and ended his career as a professional hockey player. Zakharchenko after that incident played in Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Estonia, and Hungary. In any case, the situation hurt the play of both hockey players.
This match had an impact on world hockey, because if it wasn’t for this flub, the South Korean national team may never have been in the elite division of the World Hockey Championship.
This article has listed the matches that have subsequently turned out to have been rigged. It can be seen that secrets come out and that the action is not in the strongest of leagues or championships. So if someone thinks that an NHL club or another top league club doesn’t play hard enough and lets the game down, it’s probably a delusion. A player at such a high level is not going to take risks and ruin his career. Any suspicious movement in the odds is immediately noticed by the bookmakers, followed by an investigation and disqualification.
But if a suspicious situation occurs in championships like Belarus, Kazakhstan, or the third strongest leagues, likely, another case could soon be added to this article.